By Ishiaba Kasonga 31/08/2015
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila
Ironically, the very Democratic Republic of Congo does not enjoy democracy for a decent decade since Joseph Kabila was imposed to Congolese people after the unresolved cause of assassination of former President Laurent Desiré Kabila.
Congo's democracy deficit continues to grow. Thus the political space is narrowed since Joseph Kabila is brazenly moving to consolidate power in an apparent effort to stay in office after 2016 while the constitution strictly admits no third-term.Joseph Kabila - a former "Rwandan-flagged" soldier in Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation (AFDL) warlord commandant who was imposed to Laurent Desiré Kabila into the very heart of the system of his power to control him and to be the guardian of both Uganda and Rwanda's interests- has a history of well-documented crimes such as:
Major General Joseph Kabila
- Joseph Kabila ran a "child army" of conscripted boys as young as 10 for Laurent Desiré Kabila. Then a Rwandan rebel who later took over the Congo.
- Under orders of James Kabarebe, Joseph Kabila -as AFDL commander- led the targeted massacres of hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees and Congolese in former Zaire. A UN Draft Report states that crimes committed by the Rwandan army and allied rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo could be classified as genocide.
- Police offensive against Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK), which United Nations investigators say killed hundreds of people. President Joseph Kabila's government revoked the BDK`s authorisation following a special cabinet meeting held in Matadi, capital of the Bas-Congo province.
- Systematic elimination of several Congolese army officers that hindered his rise to power and massacres of Congolese army troops particular former Force Armée Zaïroise (FAZ) army officer.
- Public health experts estimate 48 women are raped in the Congo every hour.
- The death of more than 6 million Congolese, Joseph Kabila" is complicit and jointly responsible for many crimes organized and planned to the east of the DRC by armed occupation forces of Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.
- Floribert Chebeya, head of the Congolese human rights group Voice of the Voiceless, was killed in 2010; a fugitive policeman says he witnessed the crime, and claims a police colonel told him President Kabila ordered the man's death.
- In January 2015 at least three dozen people of were killed, mostly unarmed students protesting a proposal to delay elections which are supposed to take place next year.
- The discovery of hundreds of bodies which they now admit were secretly buried at night in a mass grave near Kinshasa.
- The arrests and imprisonment of political opponents.
- The accusation of ordering the death of DR Congo most visible human rights leaders.
- The arrest a US diplomat along with other participants at a press conference organized for visiting African pro-democracy activists.
- In the eastern part of Congo; the arrest of five members of the pro-democracy youth group Lucha for the “crime” of protesting the ongoing detention of their colleagues who were caught in the earlier round up in the capital of Kinshasa and four members were sentenced for 4 years in prison.
- A U.S. diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks exposed Kabila's alleged plot to force a rival out of his role as parliamentary speaker by bribing his allies with $200,000 each to abandon him.
- A British Labour MP published evidence that Kabila looted at least $5.5 billion from his country, steering the funds to a billionaire friend through Virgin Islands shell companies.
- Forbes reported in June that Kabila has himself looted $15 billion from his country and stashed it in offshore accounts, and that his brother Soulemane Kabila has pilfered another $300 millions..........
Stressing the issue of Kabila's future plan by Mr Kenneth Roth -executive director of Human rights Watch- during an interview with Joseph Kabila on July 2015; Mr K. Roth stated that "many assume that Joseph Kabila fears for himself and his family." Furthermore Joseph Kabila raised the spectre of Congo's first democratically elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, who was executed after an apparently Western-backed coup. Joseph Kabila also made a self cross-examination by stating: "Have I been successful? I don't know. Lumumba is the real father of democracy, and he was assassinated".
U.S. President Barack Obama
In the meantime, Washington has described Africa as is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community, and to the United States in particular. For America to work with Africa as partner, to build strong institutions, to remove constraints to trade and investment, and to expend opportunities for African countries to effectively access each other's markets and global markets to embrace sound economic governance, and diversify African economic beyond a narrow reliance on natural resources, and -most importantly- create opportunities for Africa's people to prosper; Washington need to begin doing more to advance democratic governance on the continent as the Obama administration stated in the U.S. Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa of June 2012.
But the U.S Agency for international funding for democracy assistance in Africa has declined by 43 percent since 2009. Knowing that Shortchanging the aid side of democracy support ensures longer-term failures. Automatically the international community would lose the ability to influence the results of the certainty of democracy throughout Africa. Washington's passivity would let countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo to get away with some sort of shenanigans.
Having a green light of impunity, Joseph Kabila's action seems bent on leading DR Congo down if he disregards the constitution, and this is potentially a destructive path which trumps the democracy uncertainty in Africa. Region's leaders- who are avoiding criminal prosecution by clinging to power by any means- will take cues from this passivity to Joseph Kabila.
In comparison of his "self-proclaimed" second- term presidency in 2011; the prospect turmoil would carry out as pledged the purpose of the 1997 Congo invasion which is meant to control politically Kinshasa by Kigali and Uganda, to balkanize the country specifically the eastern part of Congo, and to bring the chaos in the Great Lakes Regions.
Continuing with Kabila's interview with Mr Kenneth Roth -of Human rights Watch- in relation of his future plan; Joseph Kabila firstly stated: "let's wait and see what will happen" , and later he simply asked “As for my future, continue to pray for me.”
Washington should not watch passively, but should match the sprit of President Obama's phone call to Joseph Kabila that emphasizes the importance of timely, credible, and peaceful elections that respect the DRC's constitution and protect the rights of all DRC citizens. Breaking the cycle of impunity of leaders in power- by the frank and continued international community commitment- would be a major step towards sustainable peace and security in the region. By goodwill, the international community -in particular United-States- would make a landmark achievement.
With immense mineral reserves, currently valued by some estimates at more than $24 trillion; DR Congo is a complex country facing a wide range of challenges. Therefore change will occur only if consideration is made in priority to Congolese people than to mineral and natural resources.
But still the central dilemmas are whether Joseph Kabila will step down on December 2016 and whether Washington and the international community will support a democratic transfer of power so DR Congo would enjoy peace, security and new leadership.A first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in the history of DR Congo would be a milestone to do not miss and democracy's victory . This will call democracy in the region.
By Ishiaba Kasonga
With the collaboration of Serge Egola Angbakodolo
ORION CONGO STUDIES NETWORK (O.C.S.N)
- Genocide: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11105289
- Bundu Dia Kongo (BDK): http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/evenement%20fevmars08%20BasCongo_May08.pdf
- Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) documented crimes in Rwanda : http://www.rwandadocumentsproject.net/gsdl/collect/comment/index/assoc/HASH4e91.dir/Espana-Audiencia%20nacional-English%20version.pdf
- Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) documented crimes in Congo: https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/press-kit-drc-eng-final.pdf.
- $55 billion: ihttp://ericjoyce.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/summary-5-5m-loss-to-congolese-people-through-questionable-mining-deals.pdf
- A U.S. diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks: https://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/cable.php?id=09KINSHASA191&q=200-0%20kabila
- Dozen people were killed: http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/01/24/dr-congo-deadly-crackdown-protests
- Floribert Chebeya death: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floribert_Chebeya
- The arrest a US diplomat: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/15/us-congodemocratic-arrests-idUSKBN0MB10120150315
- Lucha activist: http://ishiabakasonga.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/rdc-trois-ans-de-prison-ferme-requis.html
- The discovery of hundreds of bodies: http://www.france24.com/fr/20150408-video-rd-congo-decouverte-fosse-commune-eveille-soupcons-maluku-corps-manifestations-autorites-congolaises/
- Strategy toward Africa: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/africa_strategy_2.pdf
- Economic mismanagement: http://www.redd-monitor.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Country_Profile_DRC_2014.pdf
- 43 percent shortchanging in democracy commitment: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/falling-usaid-spending-shows-a-lack-of-commitment-to-fostering-democracy/2014/12/22/86b72d58-89f4-11e4-a085-34e9b9f09a58_story.html
- Joseph Kabila interviewed by Kenneth Roth of HWR: \https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/07/28/joseph-kabila-forever-dangers-extended-presidency-democratic-republic-congo
- Obama's phone call to Kabila: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/31/readout-president-s-call-president-joseph-kabila-democratic-republic-con
- Breaking the cycle of impunity in (DRC): https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/press-kit-drc-eng-final.pdf.